Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Reality just is not cooperating with my expectations!

Writing a novel is hard work.  In my mind I imagined myself sitting down at my desk, coffee in hand, industriously hammering away on my laptop.  All those characters and story plots dancing around my brain would just waltz out onto that page and miraculously gel into a perfect syncopated rhythm, similar to a great piece of jazz music.

The cold, hard reality is that although there are times the story does just fly out of your fingertips you eventually hit that wall.  Just what direction is this character taking me and if I go there does that ultimately change the vision of who I thought this character was?  If I let him develop "on the fly" like this, will it change the essence of my story line?  I didn't want to allow every character I introduce have the ability to just take off in any direction and possibly sabotage my story.  I needed to know more about my characters.  I needed to know, in my mind, exactly where their ego, mood, disposition and motivation would take them.  I knew I had to learn everything about them from the cadence of their speech to which foods they hate and which foods they eat for comfort.

Facebook is a wonderful social media tool.  If you have ever read my blog a Marzocca's Europe, you will know how essential it has been not only in redirecting the course my life has taken, but allowing me the opportunity to reach out to people in life and death situations. Sounds overly dramatic, but is actually true.

available on Amazon.com
This being said, it was not surprising that it was through a Facebook friend that I was introduced to Mariam Kobras, author of The Stone Trilogy. She was kind enough to offer me advice and encouraged me to get onto Twitter, which I did.  I have to admit, I'm not very comfortable on Twitter yet and I don't really use it as much as I should.  But if you are not on there, I suggest you create an account and start following people.  Mariam was gracious and introduced me to some of her fellow authors and I have learned (and am learning) so much from them I almost have to take a step back because my head is spinning.  There is so much great advice and insight to gain from other writers it is well worth the leap into the Twitter realm.

It was through Twitter I was introduced to K.M. Weiland.  Ms. Weiland writes historical and speculative fiction and mentors other writers through her website, editing services, workshops, books, CDs, and blogs. I sorely needed to get to know my characters and had no idea how to do a character sketch for my novel.  It was through a free download of her "Crafting Unforgettable Characters" that I found out just how detailed I really needed to get.  In preparing my sketches (with my own additions) I found a voice for my characters. Surprisingly, I also found a better direction and a new confidence in the way I want to tell my story.  It was a great help to me.  This prompted me to download her books "Outlining Your Novel" and the newly released "Structuring Your Novel."  I am in the process of devouring the information and using it to get my book going in a structured and organized way.  I highly recommend her books if you are struggling to get your story out. They are written clearly and easy to understand.  Her points make good sense and I felt that I was finally being pointed in the right direction.  It is for this reason I am featuring K.M. Weiland's newest publication "Structuring Your Novel" as my first feature in my very post blog post for OPENING PARAGRAPH.

I hope that you find the information on this blog helpful.  Please feel free to comment or email me with any questions/comments/suggestions.  If you are a fiction author who is published or about to be published and would like to be a guest blogger, I invite you to contact me.  I know that this is a new blog and it hasn't built a great number of followers yet, but I think that this blog could be very informative to those of us who are struggling with our first works.  Your sage advice would be most welcome!

Until next time... Tina


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14 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for your lavish praise, dear Tina! Writers have to help each other as well as they can. We're all coworkers here. :)

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    1. Thank you Mariam - well deserved. Thank you for checking out my new blog xx

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  2. I love learning from other authors - I mean, they've been there and know what they are talking about. And even if I end up not using their advice, at least I have spent time thinking about writing in ways I have not thought about writing before.

    (I also like to look at books and puzzle out why I like (or not) what others have written. Still not sure what exactly makes the characters so real when hardly any information is given. Or why "The timetraveller's wife" is the only lovestory I really love.)

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    1. I know what you mean Diandra. I think learning from Authors who have been succesful is a great way to learn, besides actually writing, editing, submitting, rewriting! But it's nice to be able to pick the brains of people who have done this. Thanks for reading. (btw... Timetravller's Wife - great book!)

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  3. Congrats on the new blog, Tina! And thank you so much for the very kind shout out. I'm so glad you're enjoying the book!

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    1. Thanks Katie and you're very welcome. I certainly am learning a lot from you and I appreciate it! Good luck with your launch :)

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  4. Hi Tina! Good luck with the blog. Thanks for the like. My advice is to start a book in the middle. You're right in the melee then. You know there's all this stuff from before the start that you've got to bring in, then there's the present and then you're rushing downhill to a resolution or denouement - the book writes itself!

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    1. wow, I never thought of approaching it that way. It must work because you've written a TON of books! I may have to give that a try. Thanks Tim (I also tagged you for a follow on Twitter xx) Read your success story on Amazon.uk - pretty impressive. You're an amazing guy. I'm keeping the link for inspiration LOL)

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    2. A young woman is getting beaten-up by two guys in an alleyway. A guy comes along and saves her. The next thing is - they're running for their lives. Why was the woman being beaten-up? Who were the guys? Who's her saviour? Why are they being chased? Why does the man's parents get killed? Why are they being tracked by credit card, mobile phone etc? Will they find out before they get killed. We started in the middle!

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    3. ah, I see where you're going with that. So do you just go forward from there to the end and then go back to start writing the beginning to tie it all in... or do you go back and forth filling in details?

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    4. When I say start in the middle - I mean literally. In other words, the middle becomes the beginning. How many times have you picked up a book and waded through half a dozen chapters before anything interesting happens? Get right into the blood and gore (or the betrayal, or whatever) - you immediately start to feel for the characters, and you can fill in the details as you go forward from there.

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    5. oh that's kind of what I did... I opened with the antagonist in the midst of a brutal murder, let that chapter hang with wanting to know "why" things are happening and went to introduce the protagonist in the second chapter starting with all this freaky stuff beginning around and with her. (ha sorry for being vague, trying not to give away my story). I hate it too when you have to wade through a ton of pages before the story starts moving.

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  5. Hey Aunt! Good luck with your writing. Ps I love the blog name!

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    1. Hey niece. Thanks. I'm glad you checked it out xx

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